In the years since writing The Shack, it’s been an honor for me to see which parts of it move and inspire people the most. I’ve noticed a few quotes seem to especially resound with readers, and I thought it might be helpful for me to unpack a few of those moments a little further here.
“I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.”
We’ve all had an experience where we watch somebody with an incredible tragedy, and say something like “I can’t imagine what that’s like” or “I can’t imagine how they’re dealing with this.” We’re looking in from the outside and we cannot put ourselves inside their world. We can’t fathom how they’re coping.
That’s what I mean when I say grace rarely makes sense from the outside. The presence of God is manifesting inside the tragedy and loss that those people are experiencing. You cannot climb inside someone else’s incarnation. You can’t experience someone else’s experience. Not your best friend’s. Not your neighbor’s. Not even your own spouse’s. There is a point at which the grace that is given to them is based on their relationship with God and no one else’s. That’s part of the beauty of how we’re crafted.
God is uniquely tied into other’s people’s losses. I know of many occasions in which people outside of a tragedy had much more difficulty than people inside of the tragedy themselves. And people project their own imaginations upon situations, saying things like, “I can’t imagine having the grace to deal with something like that.” But here’s the thing: they don’t have to, because it’s not theirs to deal with. People are trying to project onto a situation what their imagination would be, but it’s all hypothetical. It’s not their situation. To the people inside of it, there is a very unique space of grace.
That’s why, many times, you enter a place of loss with someone for no other reason than to be there. It’s not to pronounce words of explanation or anything else. You’re just there to be there. That is enough. In fact, it’s more than enough.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. (And be sure to give your email at the bottom of this page, if you haven’t already, and we’ll keep you up to date on our unfolding conversation.)